The original air freshener-shaped Google Home speaker was announced a full four years ago, and we've long heard rumors of a successor with Nest branding in the same vein as other recent products. We're now getting what appears to be our first proper look at this new speaker, and boy does it have a weird shape.
Google Assistant speakers can be great tools, giving you an easy entry into voice-controlled home automation, but they can also feel like spies giving Google intimate insights into your life and daily routines. If you don't want to go without the convenience an Assistant speaker offers, there are at least some things you can do to make it less invasive.
This story was originally published and last updated .
While smart speakers have rapidly become ubiquitous in many of our homes, there are practical things about them—like initiating a factory reset when you sell them—that just aren't intuitive without a bit of Googling. And since the Assistant (fortunately) won't abide your voice request to initiate one, that means this is one smart speaker and display feature that requires going hands-on. Fortunately, it's pretty easy in most cases for devices like Google Home, Nest Home, and Nest Hub.
It's prudent to buy Google products at certain times of the year since they are often discounted on special occasions. The next sale season is Easter, and Google UK has a range of deals to entice you. Not only can you get money off some of its newest products like Pixel 4 and Nest Mini, but a few older devices are also down in price.
Google Assistant has supported the Indonesian language on phones and TVs since March 2018, but since not all Assistant devices are created equal for languages and features, that meant smart speakers were left out of the loop. That's changing now.
For most of us, Google Homes are Assistant and cast speakers first: We either ask for music or audio to be played or we use them like a Chromecast target from our phones. But that's discounting two other ways they can be used: as Bluetooth speakers and as source to stream to other Bluetooth speakers. For more than a year now, that functionality has been broken and Google Homes haven't been able to maintain a Bluetooth link without disconnecting, but the Mountain View giant has finally acknowledged the issue.
Someone took apart a rotary phone, removed the call-making guts of it, and replaced them with a Google Home Mini. The best part about this mess of circuitry? The receiver acts as the smart speaker's output. Yes.
Google has an unfortunate habit of announcing interesting features long before they actually become available, and that's again what we've seen in the case of Ambient IQ. Not to be confused with Ambient EQ, which intelligently changes the brightness and color temperature of the display on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, Ambient IQ does a similar thing for audio. After being introduced in October last year alongside Google's latest hardware, the feature looks set to finally make an appearance.
Guest mode is one of the Chromecast's relatively unknown but very handy features. It uses location proximity and WiFi availability to allow guests to cast content to your speakers or TVs without logging in to your WiFi network, provided they have the specific PIN code for that device. Whether you're throwing a party or have temporary visitors and you don't want to bother with sharing WiFi access, you can simply give them a 4-digit code and let them choose the media that gets played. The feature launched in December of 2014 on Chromecasts and carried over to Google Homes — because they're essentially cast targets.
What's better than an Echo Dot or Google Nest Mini smart speaker? How about a smart speaker that can charge all the things? Accell's new Power Dot Office does just that, and it's now available for $55.